Harri men go home, not everything resolved

Posted by on September 7, 2017 in Articles, News, Our Stand, Stories

On 23 June 2017, we put up a post on Facebook that said:

This is Jafar Ahmmad.

He came in 2014 to work for Harri Engineering. His boss, Nallusamy Narayanan accused him and other workers of taking their pay and not showing up for work.

As it turns out, his boss was later jailed for forcing workers to take less pay and housing them in “unacceptable accommodation”.

Jafar was allowed to work temporarily while his case was being investigated. Two days ago, he was suddenly given an air ticket and asked to return home.

He has owed salary which he hasn’t been compensated for. Nor does he even have money to take a taxi home from the airport.

MOM says they can’t do anything because his boss is already in jail. Meanwhile, Harri Engineering continues to operate, apparently now run by Nallusamy’s wife.

TWC2 has written about Harri Engineering before. See: Months after initial complaints to ministry, housing and salary abuses still surfacing   and  Harri boss finally sent to jail for salary and housing abuses.

In July 2017, MOM took issue with three statements in the above article:

  1. “Jafar was allowed to work temporarily while his case was being investigated. Two days ago, he was suddenly given an air ticket and asked to return home. He has owed salary which he hasn’t been compensated for…”
  2. “MOM says they can’t do anything because his boss is already in jail”
  3. “Meanwhile, Harri Engineering continues to operate, apparently now run by Nallusamy’s wife”

MOM wrote to say:

  1. While Mr Jafar stated that he had not been compensated for his salary, he failed to mention that he did not bring up salary issues even when asked by the officers, and therefore those were not addressed prior to repatriation. He,
    • Did not lodge any outstanding salary claims with MOM
    • Did not reveal any outstanding issues during the course of FMMD’s investigation on the company
    • Did not raise any outstanding salary issues during 2 exit interviews.
  2. FMMD did not tell the worker that they were unable to assist him as “his boss was already in jail”
  3. The registered director of the company was not traced to “Nallusamy’s Wife”

TWC2 responds:

  1. We stand by our story in which we reported him saying that he was owed salary by Harri Engineering.  Whether or not he chose to lodge a formal claim through MOM is a separate matter. From what he told us, he seemed to have been discouraged from launching claims given his mention that his former boss was in jail.
  2. Our story captured what the worker said to us regarding what he heard from the MOM(FMMD*) officer about his prospects of salary recovery given that the former boss was now in jail. The FMMD officer might recall otherwise. Alternatively, MOM’s computer records might not fully show what had been casually said.
  3. Our story captured what the worker said to us about the former boss’ wife now running the company. In any case, it is quite common to see companies where the directors are there in name only, while the actual running of the company is by another person.

*FMMD = Foreign Manpower Management Division of the Ministry of Manpower

TWC2 is an organization that is dedicated to assisting low-wage migrant workers when they are in difficulty. We are motivated by a sense of fairness and humanity, though our caseload often exceeds our
means.

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